Rene Descartes is one of the most distinguishable positivists of the modern period who boldly claim that cognition can be achieved through ground. He suggested that in the chase of cognition one should be able to separate that which is true and that which is non true. This opens the thought towards his unfavorable judgments against experience as a beginning of cognition.
Experience. as Descartes puts it. can non be trusted to bring forth echt cognition because experience can lead on a individual ( Heyward & A ; Jones ) . It is a fact that experience comes from the external environment derived by the centripetal variety meats ( e. g. eyes. ears. nose. tegument. and lingua ) . These centripetal variety meats are delusory in such a manner that it can bring forth thoughts that are non truly bing or go oning. Because of this fallibility of experience. Descartes argues that it can non get at true cognition.
In consequence. Descartes suggests that in order to obtain echt cognition. one should suspend his judgement on things that he or she perceives unless those things are proven to be certain and beyond doubt. With this method he called his chase of cognition as the Methodic Doubt ( Heyward & A ; Jones ) .
Discourse on Method
In his Discourse on Method. he gives four Torahs which guide the individual from prosecuting the echt cognition ( Heyward & A ; Jones ) . The first jurisprudence provinces that one should non acknowledge anything as true that is non clearly and limpidly comprehended by ground. As he claims. truthfulness of an thought is based on it’s the lucidity which is examined by ground. Reason Tells which thoughts are clear and generated by distinguishable intuitions. Having this jurisprudence. he proceeds to the 2nd and 3rd Torahs.
The 2nd jurisprudence suggests that because the head can absorb complex thoughts. these complex thoughts should be able to transform to simple thoughts that can be intuitively analyzed by ground. This emphasizes that simple thoughts are the lone thoughts that ground can acknowledge such that complex thoughts should be breakdown to simpler thoughts in order for the ground to understand it clearly and clearly.
While the 2nd jurisprudence appears to be the analysis of the thoughts. the 3rd jurisprudence is the synthesis of the thoughts which attempts to calculate out the connexion and relationship among different thoughts that are presented in the head. This synthesis enables the head to screen out thoughts. and abstract them to get at decisions. generalisations and judgements.
The 4th and the concluding jurisprudence suggests that the usage of initiation and tax write-off assures the accomplishment of cognition since the thoughts derived through initiation and tax write-off are clearly and clearly recognized by ground ( being represented in simple thoughts ) .
Method of Doubt
The treatment on the Torahs given supra is indispensable in discoursing Descartes’ Method of Doubt. As emphasized by the Torahs. thoughts in order to function as cognition should be strongly recognized by ground in a sense that the ground can non deny them at all. Hence. his Method of Doubt maps so as to get at certainty – that which can non be doubted or denied by ground ( Heyward & A ; Jones ) . His method is different from the method used by the sceptics in such a manner that the latter suspends their judgements merely for the interest of uncertainty while the former suspends judgement for the accomplishment of cocksureness.
As mentioned earlier. one should come up with a starting point which can be clearly recognized by ground and that which can non be doubted. Descartes arrives at a decision that the thing that can non be doubted by ground is the fact that one can non doubt his being. This is for the ground that if one is on the phase of doubting. it is surely that he is believing. and that believing implies that there is something or person who or which does the act of thought. Hence. the thinking-thing exists. And that thinking-thing is. as Descartes put sit. “I. ” Therefore. that which can non be doubted is the fact that a thinking-thing exists ( I think hence I am [ bing ] ) ( Heyward & A ; Jones ) .
On God’s Existence
As Descartes recognizes that one can be deceived by experience. such implies that there is true and false belief. This false beliefs which come into the head as thoughts are non caused by God for Descartes. For him. God is the most perfect entity that which can non be doubted and that which can non do uncertainty. Hence. God is that which is certain and that which causes certainty that is why he can non bring down misrepresentation ( Still ) . The being of simple. clear. and distinguishable thoughts is the manifestation of the being of the most perfect being that which is absolute and certain that is God. Therefore. God exists ( He causes the most clear and distinguishable simple thoughts which make up the certainty of things and thoughts ) .
Furthermore. Descartes advocates the thought that there are unconditioned thoughts. These unconditioned thoughts are non cause by the thinking-thing which is foremost established by him as that which can non be doubted any longer. And those thoughts have nonsubjective world which is non influenced and caused by the thinking-thing ; it appears so that there is really another thing that surely exists which caused the thoughts absorbed by the believing thing. And this thing that which exists prior to my being is something which is absolute and the most certain of all certain things and thoughts. As Descartes puts it. it is God.
Another manner of turn outing God’s being is the thought of perfect and less perfect. As the thinking-thing is obligated to doubt so as to get at echt cognition. it implies that he is exposed to misrepresentation caused by the fallibility of the experience. And since the thinking-thing can non spot all things with certainty it follows so that his power is limited. But the construct of flawlessness implies certain and absolute properties ( Still ) . As the thinking-thing recognizes the construct of flawlessness and his being an inferior and therefore imperfect being. he concludes that there is something which is superior and that which is perfect. certain and absolute – that is God.
Evaluation of Descartes Arguments on Knowledge
Descartes is right in stating that the head can merely and intuitively acknowledge simple thoughts that are represented in the head with perfect lucidity and peculiarity. He is besides right in stating that our sense perceptual experience can be deceived ( e. g. ocular semblances. the bending of the pen when submerged in H2O. etc. ) . And eventually. he has a good point in stating that the foundation or the most cardinal thing or thought that is beyond doubt or can non be doubted is the fact that the thinking-thing exists which does the doubting. However. his history on the being of God and the innate thoughts that he advocates are questionable in a manner that they leave contention and uncertainness.
He equated the thing that causes the simple. clear and distinguishable thoughts to God every bit good as the carrier of the property of being perfect. Bing perfect. God is non caused by anything other than himself. But the head is in fact the Godhead of such entity. If God is perfect how can be that he is non seeable or perceptible to us? It is non adequate to state that we are imperfect that is why we can non comprehend him. How can it go on that something which is perfect does non hold a corporeal organic structure. which the progressive entities have? As a perfect being he should possess all the qualities that even the mere imperfect entities have.
Heyward. Jeremy and Jones. Gerald. Meditations: Rene Descartes. Hodder Murray. 2005.
Still. James. “Descartes’ Meditations Ontological Argument. ” 30 November 2005. Internet Infidels. 08 November 2007 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. heathens. org/library/modern/james_still/descartes. hypertext markup language & gt ;